The stadium hosting the Caltex Socceroos’ vital World Cup qualifier in Japan is one of the great venues for football in Asia.
On Thursday night, Saitama Stadium located north of Tokyo hosts an absolutely pivotal World Cup qualifier between these two great rivals.
At club level, it's known for its wall of noise made by the incredible fans of Urawa Red Diamonds.
And it'll be no less noisy this Thursday night when their national team meet the Green and Gold.
Here are some quick facts about the stadium plus its Aussie history.
The Caltex Socceroos last played at Saitama Stadium on 4 June, 2013.
In a tense 2014 World Cup qualifier, Tommy Oar gave an impressive Australia a 1-0 lead with eight minutes remaining.
But Japanese star Keisuke Honda scored from the penalty spot in the 90 th minute after a handball to earn the home side a point.
Mark Milligan, Robbie Kruse and Tim Cahill are the three surviving members in the current squad from the starting 11 that night.
Australia went on to win their final two group games against Jordan and Iraq to secure qualification for Brazil.
SAITAMA'S SOCCEROOS LINK
The ground is home to the Urawa Red Diamonds - one of the biggest clubs in Japan.
Current Caltex Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic played for the side in 2011, making 18 league and cup appearances.
Former Socceroo and now football pundit Ned Zelic also had time with the club in 2002/03.
A-League's ACL connection
Famously, Sydney FC held on for a 0-0 draw against Urawa in 2007. The hosts – coached by future Socceroo manager Holger Osieck – went on to win the ACL that year.
Had the Hyundai A-League club won in front of 45,000 fans then the Sky Blues would have taken Urawa's place in the quarter-finals.
It ended 0-0 but Sydney produced what is probably still its best performance in Asia, pushing Urawa back and going close through David Zdrilic unmarked in the area and David Carney. The home fans applauded Sydney off the pitch.
Western Sydney Wanderers visited Saitama Stadium to play the club in the 2017 AFC Champions League group stages, losing 6-1 to a rampant Reds.
In 2016, Sydney FC also faced them, with a 0-0 draw at home coming after a disappointing 2-0 loss at Saitama Stadium.
WORLD CUP VENUE
Saitama Stadium was built for the 2002 World Cup and has a capacity of 63,700.
It hosted four matches at the 2002 tournament, including the semi-final between Brazil and Turkey, won by Brazil 1-0, courtesy of a Ronaldo goal early in the second half.
Saitama was also the venue for Japan's first game of the tournament, a 2-2 draw with Belgium.
England played one of their group games there, drawing 1-1 with Sweden.
Aussies Abroad: Taggart strikes again for Suwon Bluewings
Adam Taggart has continued his K-League hot-streak with an equaliser for Suwon Bluewings in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with leaders Jeonbuk Motors. Taggart – who played his first match for Australia in close to five years in the Caltex Socceroos 1-0 loss to Korea Republic earlier this
Copa America 2020 a 'phenomenal opportunity' for Caltex Socceroos: Ryan
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Mathew Ryan believes the Caltex Socceroos’ participation in the Copa America 2020 is a ‘phenomenal’ opportunity for Australian football. Australia are heading to the 47th edition of the showpiece South American tournament, to held in Argentina and C
Mooy learns who he'll face in the Championship's opening round
Caltex Socceroos star Aaron Mooy has learned who he’ll face on the opening day of the EFL Championship 2019/20 season with Huddersfield Town. The Terriers – relegated from the Premier League last campaign after two years in the top flight - will host Derby County at The John S